If you asked men, they’d probably tell you Valentine’s Day is a day for women. Actually, they would probably say girls. But if you have any friends with big kids, looking at your facebook feed probably means seeing a lot of pictures of gifts moms and their kids- boys and girls- are putting together to give to their classmates, as well as a string of sarcastic memes about not getting anything this year.
When we are kids Valentine’s Day is fun, but as we grow into puberty and beyond it gets a little scary. Still, I absolutely love the day, and I look forward to it every year.
I do understand the anxiety it brings many people, both men and women; growing up I too felt pressure about getting a gift from a boy as if it put a value on my worth as a girl. As a woman and as a feminist I feel a certain amount of disdain towards the expectation of an expensive gift as if it was the only or best way to show romantic love. I certainly do not attach my worth as a woman to the gifts I receive. I also don’t like the pressure that many men feel to perform on Valentine’s Day, or the anxiety that some women feel about it, especially if they are single.
But, I do love Valentine’s Day, and Mary loves it too, so we are doing a giveaway with some of the things we love. (Hint, it involves really awesome chocolate and writing supplies). Keep reading and comment below to enter!
I love Valentine’s because in so many ways it reminds me of my mom. She always had heart-shaped chocolates and a little gift ready for us in the morning of Valentine’s Day. It made waking up to go to school that much more exciting, and the afternoons that much sweeter. Over the years, my sister and I collected sweet memories and an array of heart-shaped porcelain boxes that remain in our childhood bedrooms- but that I can’t wait to get a hold of to place in my daughter’s room.
We did not need a designated day to feel loved, my mom was an always loving and caring mother, but Valentine’s Day was when she could go a little overboard and make that love for us a little corny, fun and filled with chocolate.
My mom always made me feel special, and I want to make my loved ones feel that way too, but instead of shopping for a gift I am much better at making them myself or taking the time to spend some extra time with the ones I care about the most. Here are some ideas for gifts that won’t take much more than your time, effort and love.
- Make a your spouse’s favorite meal and spend the evening reminding him and yourself why you fell in love
- Bake brownies in heart-shaped muffin tins, and have them for breakfast (am I the only one who loves doing this?)
- Pick a friend you’ve lost touch with and send them a letter letting them know you remember them and still care
- Spend an afternoon making Valentine’s Day cards or crafts to send to family (this is great with kids or crafty friends)
- Watch your favorite romantic movie while you eat popcorn with truffle oil and parmesan cheese
- Bring a flower arrangement to a nursing home to be placed in the dining room where all the residents can enjoy it
- Bake cookies and bring them to work to share with your colleagues
- Go to your favorite coffee shop, grab one of those drinks you always want, but never buy, and take your loved one for a moonlight walk
- Give yourself a mani/pedi or book one at your favorite salon for you and your best friend
- Clean your spouse’s car, inside and out
- Wear red and when people make a comment remind them that February is Heart Disease Awareness month.
Besides cooking and baking for my husband, I try to send cards to my nieces and nephews, as well as my parents (I always thank them for showing me what love is) This year, I spent a Sunday afternoon making cards with my toddler at our local museum. He was squirmy, and stayed on task for all of 10 minutes, but I had fun and we had a cute craft to give his grandmother. I am looking forward to baking heart-shaped cookies with him later this week.
As he and my daughter grow up, I will try to instill in them a sense of love that can be romantic and include meals, flowers, chocolates and jewelry, but that is most of all respectful, appreciative, nurturing and real.